Friday, March 20, 2015

Enduring the Unrelenting, Lonely Ache of Singleness


A time, not so long ago, I was single and detesting it. At the very same time, though I didn’t know it, my wife was also in anguish about her singleness. Neither of us were cut out with the ‘gift’ of celibacy. Not that many are. Until we found each other there were a great many lonely times. We each even had the same Baptist Ministries coach, who may well have thought, “These two should get together!”
Well, we did.
But, as I recount those horribly desolate days of clinging to God’s promises — the desires of my heart — putting his Kingdom and his righteousness first, and still not getting any ‘answers’ — I am comforted that God placed me there for a good several reasons. Just like God allows us all that time of not knowing if ever we will settle down to live happily ever after.
There were quite a few times when I cried myself to sleep. There were many times when my wife did the very same thing. There is something very irreconcilable about being alone.
Being alone means we feel alone.
Nobody can quite understand, because we don’t see any point in investing in those relationships — our parents, our siblings, our friends — they will be there for us. But we want to be wanted by another.
We want to be heard by another. We want someone else to be interested. And that someone else is just out of reach or invisible.
The anguish of singleness is palpable in that it is nebulous; a real type of ambiguous loss and complicated grief. We have lost a baby to stillbirth recently, but that is no harder than being single with ambiguous hope — like, “it’ll probably happen, but may not.” All our grief is relative. The death of Nathanael was of a sense some sort of closure for us (if, indeed, closure is actually relevant to resolving grief).
There are no easy answers. There is no pat advice we can give, other than bear the day with a joy in what we have been given, and continue to hope upon God — to practice actually putting the Kingdom and his righteousness first.
At least if we put God first in our lives we have a chance at a happiness only he can provide. But we also need to be pragmatic. We need to get out there and make sure we are diligent in paving the way for a relationship.
There is no shame in developing potential relationships.
Having been single at one period for three years, I know the lonely ache of singleness is unrelenting. But I never made growth connections toward God more than when I was single. Those lessons I learned back then I retain today, and I’m ever thankful.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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